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Match preview: Red Lions vs Bullets

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets visit Balaka Stadium for TNM Super League action against Red Lions on Wednesday afternoon.

The midweek outing is one of our four away games this month before wrapping up the 2023 campaign with a home fixture in December as we chase a fifth successive league championship.

The two teams find themselves in a similar situation they were in five years ago when Bullets hammered the Lions of Zomba 3-0 to confirm the hosts’ relegation to the Premier Division.

They meet again at the same venue and at a time Red Lions are desperately hunting for all three points to avoid a repeat of what happened in the 2018 season.

Current Form

Bullets travel to Balaka straight from Sunday’s 1-1 stalemate against Mighty Mukuru Wanderers in the highly-contested Blantyre derby that put the defending champions at an advantage in the title race.

Before the derby, Kalisto Pasuwa’s men advanced to the Castel Challenge Cup round of 32 with a convincing 2-0 win over Lipulumundu Stars, before losing 2-1 to Civil Service United in the Airtel Top 8 quarterfinal second leg but went on to qualify to the semis on goal aggregate.

In the league, Bullets had four wins in their last five games, moving top of the standings to date.

The People’s Team scored nine goals in five matches, conceding five, cementing their position at the top of the table as the season gets closer to completion.

Head-to-Head

The history between Bullets and Red Lions is very long with significant impact. In the previous season, Bullets collected six points over the military side, who lost 2-0 in the first round at Balaka Stadium before The People’s Team claimed a double with a 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture at Kamuzu Stadium.

Maule last lost to Red Lions in the league in 2013 when the soldiers won 2-0 at the now-closed Zomba Community Center Ground. But since that defeat, it has been Bullets dominating in all competitions.

In the current season, we hammered them 4-0 in the opening round tie in May through a strike each from Lanjesi Nkhoma, Anthony Mfune, Stanley Billiat, and Precious Sambani.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bullets will still be aiming to avoid complacency at the hands of a side that will be looking to give it all to boost their survival chances as they currently sit in the 15th position with 28 points from 28 games.

A defeat in their 29th fixture will officially confirm their relegation to the Premier Division five years after they were also relegated to the lower league.

Team News

With a fresh injury list, Pasuwa will be travelling to Balaka without goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda and forward Anthony Mfune due to injuries.

Chiyenda was stretchered off during our 1-1 draw with Wanderers while Mfune failed to train after The People’s Team returned to training on Tuesday due to a problem with his leg.

These are fresh injuries to the squad, adding the tally to seven after Gomezgani Chirwa, Collins Okumu, Ernest Petro, Ephraim Kondowe and Clever Mkungula have also been on the sidelines, joining Mike Mkwate and Kesten Simbi.

With Chiyenda’s injury and Mkungula also out, the Zimbabwean has drafted 17-year-old Bullets Youth goalkeeper Sharifu Swadiki into his 2023 TNM Super League squad. The youngster has been training with the first team since last season and will for the first time be in the matchday squad in a competitive game when we face Red Lions in Balaka on Wednesday afternoon.

What Pasuwa said

“The boys are ready like always, but we are adding a new name to our injury list in every game we play. We have other players available, and I think everyone is ready for the match. They know what they are supposed to do because it will not be an easy game against a side fighting relegation. We need all the support so that by the end of it all, we collect maximum points.”

Kick-off time and how to follow the game

The Super League of Malawi has officially changed the kick-off time for the remaining TNM Super League matches from 14h00 to 15h00 due to the scorching weather conditions Malawi is experiencing during this period.

Wednesday afternoon’s clash against Red Lions will be streamed on FIFA+ and you can also catch all the match updates on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Match officials

Gift Chicco will be in charge of our away TNM Super League fixture against the Lions of Zomba at Balaka Stadium.

Referee: Gift Chicco

Assistant Referee 1: Bernadetta Kwimbira

Assistant Referee 2: Henry Bello

Fourth Official: Cedric Mwechumu

Match Assessor: Damson Banda

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